5 TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS AND TRICKS TO BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

I took a couple of days off of work and had an extra-long holiday weekend. It was a last minute decision and since I had no pressing deadlines at work I went for it and I loved every minute of it. While I really needed some time to de-compress from the craziness over the past couple of months I also knew going into this stay-cation that I wanted it to be productive AND relaxing. And yes, it is really possible. I had a to-do list of enhancements, if you will, I have been wanting to make to my living area and my bedroom, I have also been itching to get back in to the swing of things to make candles, I had a few to-do’s on the candle packaging front and I also wanted to binge on some Netflix (btw I watched the entire season of Stranger Things in a matter of two days!) and watch a movie or two.

In order to do the things I needed to do and squeeze in the things I wanted to do and not feel stressed out in the process I had to remind myself of some time management tips and tricks I turn to during times like these:

1 – prioritize your list

Write down all of the things you need to do and the things you want to do. Then go through and prioritize them. My list has two columns a “need to do” and a “want to do”. This helps me separate the two types of to do’s because at times I get stressed out over things I believe I need to do when in reality I don’t have to do them, I just want to – and that makes a huge difference.

2 – complete the most important ones first

Now that you have your prioritized things to do, you need to pick 2-3* that you want to accomplish that day. For the most part I try to tackle my “need to do” first but the change I made this time around is that for every three “need to do’s” on my list I included a want to do.

*This was the hardest part for me – picking 2-3 tasks a day is hard since I always feel like I want to tackle them all at once.

3 – check them off as you go

This may seem trivial but checking things off really helps seeing the progress you have made and will also give you that little boost you need to keep the momentum going.

4 – think of ways you can multi-task

There are instances when multi-tasking can actually be relaxing. For example, one of the things I really wanted to do was lay back and watch a movie with Nina (my four-legged best friend) by my side but I also had a couple of loads of laundry that needed to get done. So I watched the movie in 20-30 minute increments while the loads were either washing or drying.

5 – its okay to say no

This is one of those things that I always tell myself but when the time comes to implement I fold 95% of the time. But this weekend I did it! I was asked to help out with something this weekend and I just knew that I already had things lined up to do and I almost agreed but resisted and declined the invitation. And of course, I felt guilty but it was during this time that I was able to get a few things off of my “want to do” list and it felt great! At the end of the day I did not feel as bad for saying no (only a little bad) because they were able to figure it out without me.

All in all, it was a productive and relaxing weekend. Even though I did not get though everything on my list I made a significant progress and it feels sooo good. On that note, one of the things I really want to do is re-upholster a DIY headboard I made a couple of years back – I’m thinking of documenting that process and making a blog post out of it :) .

How do you manage your to do list? Share your own tips and tricks below!

6 PRACTICAL TIPS TO GET THROUGH YOUR TO-DO LIST

9 PRACTICAL TIPS TO GET THROUGH YOUR TO-DO LIST

I, for one, have had an extremely busy April/May – it has been a good busy but I am so happy to say that I can finally feel things slowing down a bit and getting back to normal. To catch some of you up, I recently started a new job which I really, really like but as always there is a lot of learning when starting a new role so that has kept me much busier than usual and if that was not enough I was also planning a baby shower for my sister who is expecting her second child. I am happy to report that the baby shower went off without a hitch this past weekend and I cannot express enough the relief I feel to get past it!

With so many things going on in my personal life and professional life I have been heavily reliant on my planner. I purchased the Inkwell Press planner for 2016 and I LOVE IT – I can go into a more in depth review for another blog post but in a nutshell that little planner has seriously helped me get through my busy days and weekends. Except for the time I wrote down an event I was invited to on the wrong day altogether – that wasn’t good! Here the nine tips I have followed these past several weeks to get through my never-ending to do list while not going completely crazy.


Take three deep breaths and hold


Breathing can easily fix a cluttered mind. There were a few instances in the last several weeks when I felt so over-whelmed that I was a complete scatter brain. In those instances I reminded myself to breath – I stopped doing whatever I was doing and I took three very deep breaths and I held my breath for a count of 5 and then I released. This very simple technique does wonders to bring clarity and peacefulness that always finds a way to put things into perspective.


Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize


This is such an obvious thing to point out but at times I did not prioritize very well because I did the things I felt were easy but not totally important that day while I put off the things that NEEDED to get done. So, yes, it is oh so important to prioritize your to-do list. Take 5-10 minutes at the start of your day and run through your to-do list in order of importance.


Don’t be afraid to adjust your priorities


Sometimes things change and it impacts our short term to-do list – when this happens its okay to re-adjust your to-do list and move on to the next thing and get back to the task you moved when it is ready to be addressed again.


Use the Pomodoro technique


I recently began using this and I love it! The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique with which you set yourself a timer of 25 minutes and dedicate every second of those 25 minutes to ONE task and then you take a 5-10 minute break and you repeat that for up to 4 sessions before you give yourself a longer break of 30-45 minutes.  I have to admit I was pretty hesitant of this technique when I first heard of it but I went in to it with an open mind and I have to tell you that it dramatically boosted my productivity. I do not do this every day because it is hard to fit this in on days that are jam packed with meetings but on the days when I do not have meetings scheduled this is my preferred productivity hack.


Give yourself some breathing room


Be sure to allot yourself some time to do something not on you’re to do list – but it has to be something you enjoy doing. You can walk your dog, read through a magazine, listen to music or read a blog – whatever your heart desires. The point here is to understand that not everything has to be work, work, work, we need to fit in things we love to do even with a busy schedule. Life is supposed to be enjoyed not consumed by a never ending to do list.


Delegate


There is nothing wrong with asking for a little help whether it be at work or at home. So take advantage in the best sense of that word) of the people around you – you may realize that people are much more giving with their time than you thought.

How do you get through your to do lists? Share your tips and tricks below!

WHAT I HAVE DONE TO BECOME SOMEWHAT OF A MORNING PERSON

Being a “morning person” has always been a foreign subject to me. Even when I think back to my grade school days I remember my dad prodding me to wake up and even pulling my toes – that always got me right up!

I’ve heard people equate “non-morning” people to lazy people and from first-hand experience I know that is not necessarily the case. We all have an internal clock, also known as a circadian rhythm which is a biological function that operates on a (roughly) 24 hour cycle. 

So, there are morning people, night owls and I’d like to throw a third category in there or intermediaries (which is me!) I am neither a morning person nor a night owl – even if I fall asleep at a decent time (say 10:30-11PM) I STILL hit the snooze button at 7AM.

If you can afford or have a lifestyle that can support your internal clock then have at it! Sleep at whatever time that rocks your boat. I on the other hand need to be up in the morning and be at work by 9AM (although I have been shooting to get in by 8:30 and not too successful at that lately).

I used to think that my snooze hitting habits were a by-product of our long and cold Boston winters but I've come to the conclusion that that is not the case - it's simply me.

Here are the things I have worked on in the past couple of years that have helped me become (somewhat) of a morning person.


Consistency


In order to make a long term change in your life it is crucial to be consistent. This means that, in my case, I set my alarm clock for 7AM every day including weekends. Yes, even weekends. Even though I usually allow myself to fall back to sleep on Saturdays and Sundays I want my body to get used to a 7AM wake up call.


Time Management


If you know how many hours your body needs to function to its optimal level make sure you do everything in your power to make those hours sacred. For me that means I need a solid 8 hours to feel good in the morning, therefore, I do all of the miscellaneous things that need to get done in the morning at night. This includes, picking my outfit, prepping my lunch bag and prepping my coffee machine. I do all of this at night because I want to get every minute of sleep I can in the morning.


Drink water


Since I have started to drink water in the morning at I am getting ready I have noticed such a positive change in my morning attitude. It is such a simple and easy thing to add to your morning routine that will immediately give you positive results.


Aside from beginning to drink water every morning becoming consistent and effectively managing my time has by far taken the longest time to work on. For example, if I knew I had to be at work by 8AM on any given day I would go to sleep earlier and set my alarm earlier for the next morning. Then, the next day came along and I reverted back to my normal sleeping schedule which completely threw any progress I had made out the door.

In order to combat that from happening I landed on 7AM as a good time for me to wake up every morning. If I need to be at work by 8AMthen I know that 1 hour is just enough time for me to get ready and get to work (those days Iprep a little extra to make my morning routine as quick and simple as possible). But if it’s a normal work day I know I can take my time getting ready – I can watch a video as I get dressed and as I make my coffee.

Those early days do not happen very often so I am OK with the tight timeline I have created for myself on those days. My main goal here is to train my body to wake up at a consistent time every day and hopefully someday I will not even need an alarm clock!

And, while I still end up hitting the snooze button it is not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago. I can say that I do have a little more discipline around that these days.

So, as a “non-morning” person or intermediary I’d like to say that no, we are all not just lazy people. And some of us do try very hard to train our bodies to adjust to the work hours we need to adhere to.

As for me, I still envy people to wake up early in the morning without even trying!

How about you – are you a morning person, a night owl or an in-between like me? And have you always been that way? Do share below!